“The thing with turn-based logic is that everybody understands it,” says senior designer Edouard Imbert.
We’re finally starting to fully come to grips with the fact that Larian Studios are actually developing Baldur’s Gate 3, that something that sounds this good to be true really is true, and now that the disbelief is evaporating, the tangible excitement is beginning to grow at an exponential rate. The RPG’s massive gameplay reveal yesterday furiously stoked those fires further still, dropping tons of new footage and details on the game.
One of the most noteworthy details that emerged from that stream was that unlike the first two BioWare-developed classics, Baldur’s Gate 3 will be using a turn-based combat system. While combat in its predecessors took place in real-time, allowing players to pause the action to assign commands like classic cRPGs usually did (and do), the upcoming sequel will be going with a combat system that hews much more closely to Larian Studios’ own Divinity: Original Sin games.
Why exactly have Larian made this decision? Well, simply put, the developers felt that constantly pausing the action in battles that are so systemic would be messy. According to Edouard Imbert, senior designer on Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian decided to go with the clearer and more defined logic of turn-based combat, which is something that they have plenty of experience with and are quite comfortable with as well.
“I’m critical of real-time-with-pause because I think that it looks messy. It’s like a miss, pause, give three orders, a miss, pause,” Imbert told PC Gamer. “Also, I don’t believe that sticking to the old system can expand to a greater audience. The thing with turn-based logic is that everybody understands it. It’s my turn, it’s your turn. And we have this experience with it—it worked for us with DOS1, it worked for us with DOS2, and D&D is turn-based. Your characters are the tools you’ll use to solve a puzzle, and the puzzle is a lot more messy if everything is moving at the same time.”
A certain section of the Baldur’s Gate fanbase has been none too pleased about the fact that Baldur’s Gate 3 uses turn-based battles, not only because it deviates from the first two games quite significantly in that manner, but also because, in their estimation, it hews a bit too closely to the Divinity: Original Sin games. And while that argument is not without merit, it has to be said that the two DOS games are two of the best cRPGs that have ever been made- so more of the same wouldn’t exactly be a such a bad thing. Given Larian Studios’ impeccable track record, I’m inclined to put my faith in what they’re doing.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is in development for PC and Stadia. The game will be entering Early Access on Steam later this year, so we’ll find out for ourselves just how well its turn-based combat works in the not-too-distant future.